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kisɯme (♫)
The Fearsome Well Spirit
More Character Titles



Dropping will-o'-the-wisps



Official Games
Print Works

Kisume (キスメ) is a rather shy Tsurube-otoshi who usually spends her time in buckets. She is often seen in dark places such as caves or wells. As a midboss with no dialogue and a sparse official profile, little is known about her.

General Information

Kisume was the stage 1 midboss of Subterranean Animism and has made a cameo appearance in Oriental Sacred Place chapter 10 and Forbidden Scrollery chapter 2.


Ability to drop will-o'-the-wisps

It is to literally drop will-o'-the-wisps from the objective that is on top of her head. It probably comes from her species as tsurubebi (釣瓶火, lit. "well-bucket fire"), thought to be the same as tsurube-otoshi. Her spell cards have many that drop danmaku vertically, which would be the specialty of her species.

Character Design


Tsurube otoshi (lit. bucket dropper) are a type of youkai believed to have originated in the Chuubu region of Japan. They usually live atop trees, and when humans come close to the tree a bucket or a severed head drops down and eats them. They are also sometimes depicted as flaming spirits. There is also a traditional Japanese proverb somewhat related to her species: "The autumn sun descends like a bucket falling into a well" (秋の陽は釣瓶落とし Aki no Hi wa Tsurube Otoshi). It is a proverb used to indicate how the days in Autumn get shorter.


Her full name is Kisume (キスメ). According to ZUN, her name is written in katakana to give it an old feel, and it's not written in kanji because "that would make her seem too strong".[1]


Kisume has a pale skin with dark teal hair tied up in pigtails by white hair beads. The bucket she sits in is a cherry brown with black hoops near the top and bottom. She wears a white robe with an obi.

Kisume's Appearances

Subterranean Animism

In the events of Subterranean Animism, she attacks the heroine on her way to the underground by dropping on her. She is disposed of quickly.

Symposium of Post-mysticism
Kisume as she appears in Symposium of Post-mysticism.

Back in 1984, Aya Shameimaru reports that during Gensokyo's winter, children were finding skeletal remains of a human while playing around a dried-up well, to which it ended up that the well was declared to be off-limits. Apparently, a tsurube-otoshi youkai (presumably Kisume) came out of well saying "So is THIS the body you dropped down here?" and threw the bones at them. There were no-one missing, so for who the bones belong to is a mystery.

The bones disappeared while no-one was looking during preparations to bury it in Muenzuka. This rolled onto a case whether there was any sort of incident or not, along with the identity of the previous owner of the bones. Yukari Yakumo though it was by the youkai from the Underworld and that they wanted to scare the humans since their powers come from the negative energy of humans, but it may've been a simple misunderstanding. There was a non-intervention agreement pact made between the underworld youkai and the surface, so the situation could become complicated. engu hope to avoid trouble with the underground.

The incident was settled as silver birch branches have been mistaken for bones, to which no ominous occurrences had happened at the Human Village. At a later date, it was confirmed that the dried-up well was filled in with dirt; who did this is unknown.

Spell Cards

Additional Information

Kisume's Sigil as seen in The Grimoire of Marisa.
  • Both Kisume and Yamame Kurodani use the same background image while performing a Spell Card.
  • Her Subterranean Animism portrait is very low-res, compared to many other portraits by ZUN.
  • Kisume is one of the few characters to not make a cameo appearance in Hopeless Masquerade. The reason is currently unknown.


  • Upon the release of the demo of Subterranean Animism, fans immediately dubbed Kisume "Bucket Ranka" (バケットランカ), named after Ranka Lee from Macross Frontier, due to their similarity in appearance.
  • Western fans dubbed her "Bucket Loli".
  • Fan artists interpret the clothes (before they were revealed) she's wearing inside the bucket as either a white collared blouse or a gi.
  • Perhaps due to her sharing the same stage as Yamame Kurodani, fanworks with her and Yamame and, somehow, Parsee Mizuhashi, are common.
  • Another recent meme has Kisume depicted in fan art with her bucket humorously containing everything she needs to stay alive as well as numerous luxuries such as having a home bigger on the inside, thus making sure she never has to leave it. This parallels the character Sheldon from Jim Davis's U.S. Acres comic strip (also animated as part of Garfield and Friends), a baby chick who refuses (and unsuccessfully tried) to hatch out of his egg but has everything he needs inside of it, though the similarities may be coincidental.
  • Some fans tend to portray her inside of other objects, such as a stroller being pushed by Satori, a basket in a flash video, and a bed, still not showing her full outfit.
  • Fans upon seeing ZUN's rather joking remark about her being fond of cutting off heads in Symposium of Post-mysticism, took it awfully seriously and started to work it into some recent fanarts, depicting her as horribly vicious. While this trend has died down, this has become a sore spot for a portion of fans. However, some artists have taken to drawing her with yukkuri as an alternative.

Official Profiles

Official Sources


  1. Cara☆Mel‎ (25 December 2008). "Interview on Subterranean Animism with Cara☆Mel‎" (in Japanese). http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm5903008. Retrieved 22 August 2011.